Dark Triumph is set in the same world as Grave Mercy, but focuses instead on the character of Sybella (another one of the daughters of Mortain). Sybella is a beautiful, young, noblewoman with lethal abilities as a trained assassin. However, she is plagued by darkness and deep despair. She was sent by the convent where she was trained to be assassin–the convent that should have provided her with protection–back into the den of vipers, her father’s household. As time goes by and she is prevented from killing the source of her despair, her father, D’Albret, she begins to lose hope and faith. Until one impossible mission to save rather than kill opens her world to the possibility of love rather than constant hate and fear.
While from my enthusiastic review of Grave Mercy you can definitely tell that I enjoyed the first novel of this series very much, I have to say that I loved this novel just as much–but for much different reasons. Dark Triumph was, well, very dark indeed. But I liked Sybella’s darkness and her inner struggle to keep faith alive within herself. As an added bonus, I really loved the folktales of the Dark Mother that LaFevers incorporated into the culture of the charbonnerie. As far as pacing, Grave Mercy seemed to fly by and was intensely action-packed, whereas Dark Triumph seemed to move a bit slower, having a more introspective focus. I look forward to the third installment of the series coming soon!